Copy Machine Terminology

Copy machines are specialized pieces of equipment, with several complicated-sounding features and components.  When shopping for a copier, it helps to know some of the acronyms for features and some of the common terms used in the industry.  The more knowledgeable you sound when speaking to a salesperson, the better deal you’re likely to get. 

The following are some terms that a salesperson will use when discussing copy machine features:

Automatic Document Feeder (ADF): A feature that allows you to copy a whole document without individually copying each page.  The document is placed in a tray, and each page is automatically “fed” into a printer copier machine.  DADF (the “D” stands for “duplexing”) is a feature where two-sided documents can be read and copied automatically.

Average Monthly Copy Volume (AMCV): Also referred to as “Average Monthly Print Volume” (AMPV), this is the use estimate of a machine determined by how many copies or documents are printed monthly.  Many vendors calculate costs based on this estimate.

Business Color: Class of color printing capacity where colors are printed approximately the same or close to the colors chosen in a document creation program.  For example, if a pamphlet is created in Photoshop, the printed colors will not be an exact match when printed.  Business color is less expensive than more sophisticated printing methods.

Buy-Out: The amount to purchase equipment once a lease is over.

Clicks: An industry term for pages printed per month.  Many machines have meters that compute the actual number of pages printed.

CMYK: An acronym for Cyan-Magenta-Yellow-Black (yes, the “K” is for black), this is a basic color printing process.

Copies-per-minute (CPM): The speed at which a machine can produce copies.

Cost-per-copy (CPC) program: A program offered by many vendors where a business is charged “per copy” on one monthly bill for all components of a copying system, including supplies, service, and hardware.  Hardware is leased or financed in a CPC program.

Dots-per-inch (DPI): A printing term describing the density of colors on a printed page.  A higher number denotes higher-quality prints.

Duty Cycle: Amount of output a device is capable of, measured in units printed.  This number determines the life span of a device.

Electronic Document Management (EDM): A system where all documents can be managed online.  Usually, an all in one printer copier is connected to a network, and employees can send documents electronically to be printed, or scan physical documents for electronic storage.

Finishing Options: Features that can be performed by a copier such as stapling, folding, and collating.

Imposition: The ability of a copier to arrange pages in “booklet” order when pages are sent electronically or scanned individually.

Large Capacity Tray (LCT): A tray that can hold several reams of paper for large print jobs.

Multi-function Device (MFD) or Multi-function Product (MFP): A machine that performs copying, print, and other functions, such as receiving faxes.

RGB: Stands for Red-Green-Blue, a method of generating color by projecting light to produce more vibrant images.  Produces higher-density colors than CMYK.

Scanner: A feature typically offered on a printer that allows documents to be scanned in and stored on a computer.

Thermal Printer: A printer that uses heat to duplicate images.  Specific heat-sensitive paper is necessary, and copies can fade over time.

TCO: Stands for Total Cost of Ownership, an estimate given that includes equipment and service costs when purchasing a copier.

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